Autobiography, with Letters

By William Lyon Phelps | Go to book overview
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29
BICYCLING IN EUROPE

TRAVELLING was cheaper then than now; and the dollar of course bought more. I set apart five hundred dollars for my first trip to Europe. First class fare round trip, $105; purchase of a bicycle in Brussels, $80; clothes bought in London $50; all travelling expenses in Europe, $250; and I had fifteen dollars in my pocket when I arrived in New York.

We sailed on an old, small, and cheap steamer of the Red Star Line, the Waesland, Captain Grant. We left New York harbour Wednesday, 25 June 1890, at eleven in the morning.

There were five in our party; my Yale classmates, George D. Pettee and Horace Hart, and two graduate students at Yale, John Strong and H. Austin Aikins. All are now living except Hart.

Pettee became Head Master of the University School in Cleveland, Aikins professor of philosophy at Western Reserve University, and Strong a clergyman. I shall always be glad that my first voyage to Europe was on a very small steamer with only one deck and that we sailed directly from New York to Antwerpwithout any stops.

On the modern luxury liners, it is quite possible to spend every day on one of the decks and never see the ocean. But with our small ship lying low in the water we lived very close to the sea, and the deck was frequently awash. On the fourth day out we had the biggest storm I have ever seen; one day four or five of us on deck were hit by a

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